It seems simple, yet a good night’s sleep can seem elusive. Fortunately, there are habits you can develop and supplements you try to help you get the rest you need to feel and perform your best.
Keep reading to discover the most common reasons for bad sleep, the symptoms of insomnia, and five habits to fight it, as well as the supplements that are scientifically proven to support better sleep.
How much sleep do I need?
Experts agree that seven to eight hours of sleep is the magic number for most adults. This is enough to recharge your body and mind from the day’s demands while renewing cells, removing metabolic waste products, and strengthening your immune system.
People who get adequate rest have more energy, find it easier to concentrate, experience more positive moods and generally enjoy an overall sense of well-being.
Why can't I sleep?
A lack of proper sleep can be frustrating, and not being able to pinpoint the cause makes matters worse.
Psychological factors, such as stress, are the most common cause of sleep disturbances. The quiet darkness of bedtime provides the perfect conditions to overthink life’s challenges. Before you know it, you’ve been tossing and turning for hours and now it’s time to get up.
Screen use in the bedroom can also contribute to poor sleep – and binge-watching one too many Netflix episodes isn’t the only culprit. Reading before turning out the lights is a ritual in many homes. Unfortunately, the move towards e-readers has the unintended consequence of exposing readers to blue light, similar to that of phone, TV, and computer screens – which is known to disrupt sleep.
What you ingest (or don’t ingest) can also affect your sleep. Many people know that caffeine can disrupt sleep, but fewer are aware that alcohol can also have a negative effect. A lack of certain nutrients can also make it more difficult to fall asleep and stay asleep.
What is insomnia?
Insomnia is a common sleep disorder that many adults temporarily experience over a few days to a few weeks. It’s usually attributed to poor bedtime habits, stress, or a recent traumatic event. A smaller proportion of the population experiences chronic insomnia, which is often caused by medical conditions or medication.
Regardless of which type of insomnia someone is experiencing, the condition presents with three main symptoms:
- Difficulty falling asleep
- Difficulty staying asleep
- Not being able to fall back to sleep
The resulting lack of proper rest can result in:
- Not feeling well-rested
- Feeling tired throughout the day
- Increased irritability, depression, or anxiety
- Difficulties with memory
- Short attention span
- A preoccupation with the sleep
Fortunately, there are things that can help to alleviate short-term insomnia by addressing the root causes. If insomnia persists or becomes too disruptive, it’s time to see a doctor.
5 Habits for Better Sleep
While there may be underlying health conditions contributing to sleeping difficulties, many people can find relief with a few changes to their sleeping environment and pre-bedtime routines. Here are five tips recommended by experts to improve sleep.
1. Create a relaxed sleeping environment
The Sleep Foundation emphasises the importance of a relaxing sleeping environment in getting a good night’s rest. According to the foundation, studies have shown that people sleep better in rooms optimised for light and noise levels, temperature, and comfort.
The foundation underscores the importance of the right bedding and suggests making the bed every day and washing sheets at least once every two weeks to keep dust mites under control - more often if you sweat a lot or share your bed with pets. Soothing fragrances, such as lavender, peppermint or heliotropin can also contribute to a restful environment.
2. Wind down and relax before bedtime
A regular ‘lights out’ time and a bedtime routine can help signal to the brain that it’s time to rest. An effective bedtime routine should start 30 – 60 minutes before lights out and centre around calming activities – a bath or shower, a warm caffeine-free beverage, a light snack, reading, journaling or meditation are all excellent choices.
The National Library of Medicine in the US has published several studies finding that blue light from electronics, such as e-readers, can disrupt circadian rhythms and cause trouble sleeping. With this in mind, it’s a good idea to banish electronics at least 30 minutes before bedtime.
3. Keep the bedroom cool and dark
The Sleep Foundation suggests that the optimal bedroom temperature is approximately 18 degrees Celsius. Sleeping in a room that’s too hot is not only uncomfortable but it can cause restlessness and might interfere with the body’s thermoregulation abilities, which can lead to fatigue.
Exposure to artificial light at bedtime can inhibit the production of the sleep hormone melatonin, making it difficult to fall asleep. Dimming switches in the bedroom can help during pre-bedtime tasks, and light-blocking shades can ensure that streetlights and early-morning sunlight won’t disrupt your sleeping hours.
4. Avoid alcohol, caffeine, and late meals
It’s well-known that caffeine is a stimulant best avoided at night, but fewer people are aware that consuming food and alcohol too close to bedtime can also negatively affect sleep. These have been shown to affect melatonin production and natural nighttime elevations in human growth hormone, both of which are essential to maintaining circadian rhythms.
5. Limit physical activity to daytime
One study has shown that exercise can reduce the time it takes to fall asleep by 55% and increase total sleep time by 18%. This is due to a boost in melatonin production. However, exercising too late in the day can have the opposite effect. Exercise increases the production of epinephrine and adrenaline. These hormones stimulate the nervous system, which can make you feel more alert, and thus, cause difficulties falling asleep.
Supplements for Better Sleep
Certain nutrients have been shown to help regulate circadian rhythms and support normal hormone production.
Deficiencies of serotonin, melatonin, and dopamine can disrupt circadian rhythms. DESEJR® offers high-quality Iron +Vitamin C, Magnesium Tri Complex, Selenium and Zinc supplements, which can help balance these hormone levels for better sleep.
In addition, our Vitamin B Complex supplement contributes to normal nervous system functioning while our Vitamin D3 + K2 supplement can help regulate circadian rhythms. The effects of both supplements can positively impact sleep quality.
All of these one-tablet-a-day supplements are 100% vegan and free from artificial flavours and colourings, added sugar, GMOs, lactose, gluten, and most common allergens. All of our supplements are formulated in Denmark and lab-tested by an independent German laboratory to ensure their purity and potency.